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An Interview for VANYA & SONYA & MASHA & SPIKE (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Summer 2016):

😃Click for Full Interview😃

On PUNK ROCK (Griffin Theatre, Winter 2012):


“...the young, mostly-unknown-in-town cast of Jonathan Berry's deeply affecting production of 'Punk Rock' at the Griffin Theatre is, taken as a whole, remarkable enough for your mouth to keep dropping open in surprise at the depth and raw frankness of their work.  It's like a trout farm of talent, swimming around in their school uniforms... these actors [don’t] stop working for a moment - and it's the fullness of the performances that underpins the quality of Berry's gripping production.” – Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

On BENGAL TIGER AT THE BAGHDAD ZOO (Lookingglass Theatre, Jan-Mar. 2013):


“But it is the extraordinary performances of Mr. Briggs and Mr. Phillips that will live with you long after you walk out of the theatre proper.  Their once simple relationship as servicemen gets morphed into a much bigger questioning of brotherhood, loyalty, trust, love and forgiveness, with Mr. Phillips giving one of the best performances I have seen is a very, very long time.” - Michael J. Roberts, Showbiz Chicago

“Mr. Phillips’ intensity was palpable from the first scene to the last... He was impressive in his complete acting immersion.”  - Lazlo Collins, Chicago Theatre Review

“JJ Phillips, in a performance of sad earthiness…” -  Lawrence B. Johnson, Chicago on the Aisle

On FAT PIG (Steppenwolf NEXT UP Series, Summer 2013):


"The entire cast has good comedic instincts, particularly Phillips who nails his portrayal of the mischievous Carter....  Bywater, Phillips, and Buzan somehow make their characters likeable despite the fact that they’re all doing some pretty horrible things."  - Keith Glab, Chicago Theater Beat

"Phillips is hysterical.  His blunt tirades are the sad and honest truth.  When he describes a childhood memory, I well up.  Later, Phillips explains the facts of life with nonchalant brutality.  It’s a searing slap of reality." - Katy Walsh, The Fourth Walsh


On THE NORTH CHINA LOVER (Lookingglass Theatre, Fall 2013):


"she already has enjoyed a long affair with her brother, Paolo, gently played by JJ Phillips." - Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune


"Pierre who dominates her and Paolo who she has sex with, played with characteristic thoughtfulness... by two of Chicago’s most exciting young actors Walter Owen Briggs and JJ Phillips respectively" - Francis Sadac, From the Ledge

"Gray seems fully in the moment when she’s dancing with Phillips’ quiet but affecting Paolo." - James Smith, Hyde Park Herald

"Walter Owen Briggs and JJ Phillips handle the roles of the two brothers beautifully" - Dan Zeff, Chicagoland Theater Reviews




On LEVELING UP (Steppenwolf Theatre, Winter 2014):


"The cast here is uniformly excellent, if not flawless... JJ Phillips is perfect as Zander.  Phillips avoids playing what could easily be a stereotype of "spoiled dumb rich guy," and instead gives Zander some deep layers under the surface that show just how scared he is of losing it all."  -  Justin LeClaire, Chicago Splash Magazine


“Phillips is appropriately fast-talking; you can feel the desperation build in both his voice and body language thanks to his specificity.”  -  Patrick Dyer, Chicago Theater Beat

"The cast, under Gordon’s direction, create nuanced characterizations that make us care about what is at stake in all their lives.  Phillips captures both the intellectual vacuity and easy charm [of Zander]… and his growing panic as opportunity slips from his grasp."  -  Kerstin Broockmann, Chicago Stage Standard

"Director Hallie Gordon keeps things swiftly paced, and the four young actors are uniformly strong, depicting Millennials who are, in fact, a lot more complicated than they're given credit for."  -  Suzanne Scanlon, Chicago Reader

"...all four actors in Hallie Gordon’s staging are winning in their portrayals of the uncertain edge of youth..."  -  Kris Vire, TimeOut Chicago

"Under the direction of Hallie Gordon, the ensemble is virtually and literally outstanding.  Their interactions are authentic.  The snappy dialogue is companionable.  The gestures are natural."  -  Katy Walsh, The Fourth Walsh


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